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When It Comes to Appointments, Don’t Believe Everything You Read

By David J. Hoff — November 11, 2008 1 min read
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Time’s The Page has become important reading for anyone tracking politics, even after the election. Yesterday’s “three things to watch” had this nice little tidbit:

Lots of people are being discussed for jobs. But pay attention. Don't just assume that because a name is in the press that person is seriously being considered for a job.

Last week, one source gave me a reason to be suspicious of names floating around: Some people only want to have their name mentioned for a job in the new administration.

Think of the advantages for having your name in the press or on blogs as a potential secretary of education. You can impress your boss and friends. The philanthropic community will be more likely to fund your grant applications. Maybe your “candidacy” will mean that your rival doesn’t get the job.

If you get the job, you’ll have to give the same speech over and over again or take calls from congressman complaining about any little thing. (Then again, you might get good seats for opening day, appear on Comedy Central with Jon Stewart, or play Jeopardy!)

Here’s one more cautionary note about education secretary speculation. This one is from Politico, writing about George Bush’s selection of an attorney general:

Such Washington speculation, of course, can be famously far off the mark. A Republican lawyer remembered a cocktail party eight years ago dominated by talk of then-Govs. Frank Keating of Oklahoma and Marc Racicot of Montana as frontrunners for attorney general. And there was not a mention of the eventual nominee, John Ashcroft.

The same could be said about rumors about the education secretary leading up to Richard Riley’s nomination in 1992.

But for those of you who love the speculation, you’ll have plenty of time to play the game. The transition team announced yesterday that the president-elect would not announce any Cabinet nominations this week. At that pace, we probably won’t know who’s in line to take over the Education Department until the week of Thanksgiving, or even later.

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